Tax Court in Alhambra, California
Tax Court is a legal forum designed specifically to resolve claims and disputes that arise under federal and (sometimes) state tax law.
At the national level, we have the United States Tax Court, which has locations all over the country. This means that there is a U.S. tax court in or near Alhambra, California.
Tax courts in America handle the vast majority of legal issues that concern federal tax obligations of a person or other legal entity, such as a corporation. There are several procedural rules that are meant to funnel tax issues into tax courts, without strictly requiring them to be heard there. For example, only tax courts can hear tax cases where the tax in question has not yet been paid. The courts of general jurisdiction - known as the U.S. District Court - can also hear tax cases, but they can only hear tax cases if the disputed tax bill has already been paid.
Tax Court Procedure in Alhambra, California
Any claim dealing with federal tax law in Alhambra, California can end up in tax court. Most often, a dispute ends up in tax court when the government claims that someone has not paid all of the taxes that they are legally obligated to pay. If the taxpayer disputes the factual basis of the allegation, or believes the IRS has misinterpreted the law, U.S. Tax Courts have to decide those issues.
U.S. Tax Court judges are appointed by the President. Their terms of office are legally set at 15 years. However, the vast majority of tax court judges are simply appointed again when their terms run out, and there is no limit on the number of 15-year terms they can serve. As a practical matter, therefore, Tax Court judges effectively serve life terms.
Federal tax court is somewhat unique in that individuals who are not licensed attorneys in California (or anywhere else) may represent taxpayers before the tax court, as long as they can pass an exam indicating that they have a good knowledge of tax law. Licensed lawyers do not need to take this exam to practice before tax court.
Most often, when the IRS sends a Alhambra, California resident a "notice of deficiency," which alleges that they owe back taxes, the taxpayer has 90 days to go to tax court, and file a claim in tax court to fight this allegation. If you don't file this claim within the allotted time, you can lose your right to dispute the tax bill in question, in any forum, permanently.
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Although the law lets certain non-lawyers represent parties before tax court, tax law is very complex and often difficult to understand - to the point that almost all attorneys who practice tax law practice it exclusively, simply because maintaining competence leaves little time to learn any other area.
So, if you plan on going to tax court, it should go without saying that you should hire a Alhambra, California tax attorney. While a non-lawyer admitted to practice before tax court may well give you competent representation, you will have much stronger recourse against a licensed attorney if they negligently botch your case.